Flunking Sainthood

Flunking Sainthood


On Elder Marlin Jensen, Proposition 8 Apologies, and the Future of Mormonism

posted by Jana Riess
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The Bloggernacle has been buzzing for several days with reports of an uplifting and wonderful pre-stake conference church meeting last Sunday, September 19, in the Oakland, California stake. Carol Lynn Pearson has blogged here at Flunking Sainthood before about some of the beautiful reconciliation efforts that have occurred in that stake since the debacle of Mormon involvement in Proposition 8 two years ago. So as blogger Joanna Brooks has aptly pointed out, the ground had already been laid in Oakland for this remarkable occurrence: Elder Marlin Jensen, the visiting general authority at the stake conference, apologized for the pain and suffering gays had experienced and were expressing at the meeting.

Here is what an attendee reported at Mormon Matters:

Marlin Jensen sat there and listened. He’d that he appreciated the opportunity come listen and promised to take what he learned “back to the Brethren.” (He is an extremely warm, kind, funny guy. He pointed out that of the three tiered hierarchy of the Mormon church leadership, he’s in the bottom tier and thus, “very expendable.” That got a laugh.) What he did, though, was after everybody got up, and told of the suffering that Prop 8 had caused – the division, heartache, anger, frustration and pain – and when the last guy who spoke told him that the Mormon church owed the gay community an apology, he stood and said, “To the [extent that] it’s within my power to apologize, I want to tell you that I am sorry. I am very sorry.” People were audibly weeping. Paul sobbed. I put my arm around him. It was very, very powerful. It felt very healing.


And here is what Carol Lynn Pearson added as a clarification (Comment #36):

The headline “Elder Marlin Jensen Apologizes for Proposition 8? is a bit misleading. I was present at the meeting. There was a great deal of pain expressed by a number of people about their experiences around Prop 8 and the larger context of church policy regarding gay people. It was a remarkable meeting, and Elder Jensen took copious notes and was visibly emotionally touched as he listened to the stories. At no time did he say anything like, “I know Proposition 8 was a mistake and I apologize for that mistake.” He was responding personally and in general to the extraordinary pain he was witnessing. No one had a tape recorder, but I wrote down the words, “…Do we owe an apology? I will say I am sorry. To the full extent of my capacity I say I am sorry.” It was a sincere and moving statement. It would not be constructive to make his statement sound like something it was not. The meeting itself was an historical event, for which I and many others are deeply grateful.

This reminded me of why I like Elder Jensen, one of the only general authorities I’ve met personally. That’s because as the church’s historian he makes time to attend MHA and other meetings and actually talk to people. When I met him, I asked him for sources about something I was writing on LDS fasting practices. He gave me some helpful reading suggestions (a GA who reads! Hooray!) and then shared a funny and self-deprecating story about his struggles with fasting as a child. I found him to be as these two people have reported: warm, engaging, and sincere.

I think it’s clear from both reports that Elder Jensen was not apologizing for the LDS Church’s institutional leadership in passing Proposition 8. (A girl can dream.) He was, however, meeting people on a human level with the courage to become a sounding board for their pain. He was agreeing to hear and honor their stories, stories that did not paint the Church in a flattering light.

He was acting as a true Christian.

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In Donald Miller‘s memoir Blue Like Jazz, there’s a powerful scene from Miller’s college days in which the handful of evangelical Christian students on his ultra-liberal college campus constructed a confessional booth during Reed’s annual major party festival. “Confess Your Sins,” its sign read: confess all the drugs you’ve just done, or the fact that you slept with someone at this bacchanalian revel and can’t remember her name.

Confess to a Christian, who will absolve you of your sins.

Except that there was a catch. The Christian in the booth was actually there to apologize to you. When a dude named Jake came into the booth, Miller began his awkward but heartfelt mea culpa to this stranger:

“Jesus said to feed the poor and to heal the sick. I have never done very much about that. Jesus said to love those who persecute me. I tend to lash out, especially if I feel threatened, you know, if my ego gets threatened. Jesus did not mix spirituality with politics. I grew up doing that. It got in the way of the central message of Christ. I know that was wrong, and I know that a lot of people will not listen to the words of Christ because people like me, who know Him, carry our own agendas into the conversation rather than just relaying the message Christ wanted to get across. There’s a lot more, you know.”

“It’s all right, man,” Jake said, very tenderly. His eyes were starting to water.

“Well,” I said, clearing my throat, “I am sorry for all of that.”

“I forgive you,” Jake said. And he meant it.

An apology opened the door.



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Chris

posted September 27, 2010 at 4:45 pm


A very interesting article. However, in saying “I’m Sorry” I wonder if Elder Jensen was actually even apologizing for fault, or was he simply expressing that he sympathized with the pain and suffering of those in the audience, much like you say “I’m Sorry for your loss” or “I’m sorry you are not feeling well”. There is a difference between sympathy and fault. The Church has, to some degree, expressed sympathy and will probably continue to do so through the appropriate venues. But I doubt it will admit fault, simply because it firmly believes the action was right and necessary. They can regret the pain and not the act, just as a doctor regrets he will harm you in order to administer a needed shot. In the end, whether you agree with them or not, the issue of Marriage Rights will, contrary to what is usually said, cause a dramatic shift in the American culture. A shift which, whether you view it as beneficial or not, we will spend the next century litigating. It will undoubtedly open the door for polyandry (after all, if you have one contract, can’t you have two. The Constitution can surly not prohibit your rights to marry and be happy with more than two people) which will require us to question how we administer many benefits. It will also cause us to reexamine many fundamental rights, such as does a parent have the right to remove their child from a day of class which teaches a principle they think morally reprehensible (the Mass Supreme Court said no)or does a person have the right to refuse business to individuals whose lifestyles they do not agree with it. And of course, the continual debate, what will the result be on American families and future generations. Will it lead to the betterment of society, or its continued fragmentation. They are question which should be contemplated in place of the continual condemnation by the extremes of both sides concerning the free, constitutional, and mostly respectful expression of opinion motivated by moral belief on both sides that was conducted in California.



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be

posted September 27, 2010 at 8:25 pm


Jana: Nice summary of all of the talk regarding Elder Jensen’s comments. Even interpreting his apology as an expression of sympathy and not an admission of fault, I think this is still a pretty big step toward a compassionate treatment of gays and their issues.



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DMc

posted September 28, 2010 at 1:06 am


I wish some could understand you do not look down on people who make selfish decisions. Even if their decisions make you uncomfortable. Also, those people who make selfish decisions should realize getting their way now at a cost to others is not a work that will be judged kindly. Depriving children the enlightenment of how polar opposites resolve issues peacefully and lovingly costs children dearly. That cost is a crime. The world is chock full of the fruits of these crimes.
Many different combinations can fit these statements. Some combinations allow the possibility of the best possible resolution but never achieve it. In the end a crime is committed. Other combinations commit a crime from the beginning because all the necessary options for success are never allowed to come to the table. Both of these scenarios end in crime against children. Why not give the children the best chance possible and their teachers the longest time available and all the options to achieve success?
Where children are concerned one should never think of gain but only giving. The Family Proclamation, if adhered to, would only benefit children. Any opposing frame of mind is only concerned with selfishness and the perpetuation of the afore mentioned crimes. It is sad when some feel entitled to what may or will end in sorrow for others because they choose to leap for their own goal unprepared.
Those who understand these scenarios completely can only feel sorrow for the ones involved in leaping unprepared.



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Bebo

posted September 28, 2010 at 3:41 am


If it wasn’t an admission of fault, it should’ve been. Prop 8 is going nowhere but the waste bin, together with millions of dollars.



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E. Klinche

posted September 28, 2010 at 7:39 am


To discount the vote of 52 percent of the state of California on a referendum in 2008, the most expensive in the history of the country, as “a waste of money”, is subjective and rather shortsighted, in my opinion. As a former 2008 resident of California I found it worth donating to, because the cause of traditional marriage is worth it to me, and apparently a few million others.
Civil unions should be a legal way for same sex couples to get financial and legal rights, as fairly argued by many. The argument of marriage, as we call it, is between a man and a woman by definition. This, in my opinion, is a reflection on our society and not about hate or preventing civil rights to a minority, but rather a vote of conscience and correct laws by definition.
I am sorry for pain caused by it, but I stand by the decision to defend traditional marriage. And promote it. I am also sorry for the pain caused by common law and failed traditional marriages and their aftermaths on the family and society.
Interesting and insightful article. What would Jesus Christ do and think about it?



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Michael

posted September 28, 2010 at 7:58 am


I wish those of you who call yourselves members of the Church would wake up to your error in supporting homosexuality! It is an un-natural and wicked practice which results in temporal, spirtual and cultural death to those individuals and civilizations who embrace it. What you mistakenly deem to be Christain love is enabling those who should be repenting from such practices.
Do we all sin? Yes. But must we celebrate our weaknesses and seek to obtain the legal right to legitimize them and impose them on the culture? Absolutely not! I am sorry for those who suffer from same gender attraction as I am sorry for those who are attracted to children or animals or any other debasing sin. But I will fight the legitimization of such behavior with all I can muster, as will the great majority. Work your personal issues out in the privacy of your own homes, bedrooms and churches with appropriate counsel. Don’t force it upon the rest of us.



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Paul

posted September 28, 2010 at 10:34 am


A GA that reads ? This is a negative remark. The person making this comment obviously wants unconditional Christian love to be extended. They could try extending the same.



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Jennifer

posted September 28, 2010 at 12:34 pm


Despite whatever Elder Jensen meant by saying he was sorry, I’m sure that he still supports the actions that the Prophet and Apostles took to encourage members to support this cause of defending traditional marriage.
I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It is my belief and testimony that our Prophet, Apostles and General Authorities have been called by the Spirit of Prophecy. I have a testimony that they are called and chosen by God to be His servants, and to guide His Church.
Prophets and Apostles are not perfect men, but when they make a decision for the whole of the church, they are making that decision under the spirit of prophesy, and making the same decision our Savior would make if He were here. Some people mistakenly believe that although the Church is true the General Authorities make unwise decisions for the church. I have no doubt that if Christ was on the earth, he would support and encourage his followers to uphold the true definition of marriage, given to us by God, as a union between man and woman, and vote for the same.
This issue is about the definition of a word, and how it should be written and interpreted in our laws. Voting in favor of the traditional definition of marriage does not mean you “hate” anyone. What it means is that you understand the value of the parental relationship it creates for children.
I feel sorry for those with same-sex attraction. All sexual thoughts and behaviors with someone you are not married to is wrong. We all have impure sexual thoughts at some point and need to not act on them for our own and others’ best interests.
People can and should be treated equally under the law, but relationships should not be. Forcing all of society to recognize a redefinition of family relationships teaches children that there is no need for a father or mother, which is a lie.
Why should our gov. recognize any family relationship at all? We as a people value family relationships and the stability is gives our children.
Marriage has the great purpose of bringing a man and woman together into a committed relationship in order that children may have both a father and a mother who vow to raise them together. Children are entitled to a mother and a father. It is tragic that so many children grow up without one or the other. That is why we should support all policy that encourages traditional marriage, including stricter divorce laws.
I’m also “sorry” that so many feel hurt by the actions of church leadership and members who supported Prop 8. It saddens me that they have not come to an understanding of the true purpose of marriage. But something is either right or wrong, and when my own children ask for something that is “wrong,” many times I have to say, I’m sorry, I can’t let you have that. Showing an increased amount of love helps your children know you still love them despite your denial of their wishes. We as church members also need to show an increased amount of love to the pro gay-marriage community to show that it is not about them personally, but about something that is wrong.
I am so thankful for my Father in Heaven. He knows what will bring us the greatest happiness and has given us guidance to show us the way.



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Jeff

posted September 28, 2010 at 2:54 pm


It would be interesting to know if the Mormon (LDS) Church leadership (at levels above Elder Jensen) is sorry about the impacts that the church’s strong support of Proposition 8 has had on public perception of the Mormon Church. Is the new advertisting campaign (now running in a few test markets) an effort to help improve public perception of the church?



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Lloyd Abbott

posted September 28, 2010 at 4:41 pm


theater dance and performance studies at Cal Berkeley has announced an honors thesis project entitled, “Questions of the Heart: Gay Mormons and the Search for Identity.” “Ben Abbott will look at intersections of gay and Mormon identity from original interviews with the community and those who touch and are touched by them . . .” (March 31 – April 2, 2011). see tdps.berkeley.edu, 2010/11 Workshops & Student Showcases.



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Roxie

posted September 28, 2010 at 8:52 pm


I was very offended by the comment Ms. Pearson made about “a GA that reads.” She apparently doesn’t listen to their talks or read on her own part becuase if she did, she would know that the general authorities of the church are very well read and often quote the classics as well as contemporary scholars and authors. This comment shows her lack of support for the prophets of the church. If she cannot sustain the leadership of the church, she needs to disassociate herself with us. The church has nothing to apologize for. When someone is hurt by a principle of righteousness that is basic to church doctrine, it is usually because they know what is right and what is wrong and realize they are doing something wrong. That is exactly what is happening here. I fully agree that we should show love and compassion, but to expect a change of principles of basic church doctrine is not right. Right is right and sin is sin. The support of the basic unit of marriage in our society is not an attack on people who suffer with same sex attraction. If they feel attacked by this support, they need to check their own motives. I realize this is a tender subject for Ms. Pearson. I also have family members and loved ones who suffer from this problem, but coddling them is not helping them. Loving them and helping them to come to terms with the truth is what they need, not people who accept them and do not help them to sustain the priciples of righteousness. Wake up and put the help where it is needed the most.



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Mordred08

posted September 28, 2010 at 11:41 pm


There’s so much I could say about Proposition Straight and those who support it, who claim they’re just protecting us from ourselves and that if we weren’t so lost in our sin, we’d thank them. But I think C.S. Lewis says it better.
“Theocracy is the worst of all governments. If we must have a tyrant a robber baron is far better than an inquisitor. The baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity at some point may be sated; and since he dimly knows he is doing wrong he may possibly repent. But the inquisitor who mistakes his own cruelty and lust of power and fear for the voice of Heaven will torment us infinitely more because he torments us with the approval of his own conscience and his better impulses appear to him as temptations.”



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Tom

posted September 29, 2010 at 10:49 am


Thank you, commenter Jennifer, for saying what needs to be said.
I must say that I find the tone of Ms. Riess’ article to be condescending and unhelpful to the cause of dialog. The brazen editorializing (the Church’s Prop. 8 efforts a “debacle”? Not to those of us who supported/support it) and snarky comments will do little to win people to your cause. Alas, snark is a large part of your MO (and an equally important part of your marketing strategy, I’m sure).
And, I must ask, what is your cause? I doubt it simply is understanding or mutual respect, otherwise you would give as much as you demand. Do you seek Church recognition of same-sex relationships or civil marriages? Perhaps even going for the brass ring–gay temple marriages? I wish LDS SSM advocates would at least be open and honest about what “reforms” they are seeking to achieve.
For what its worth, I strongly agree that charity and love (not condescension) should mark the attitude faithful members of the church should hold toward those with same-gender attraction. It is a quantum leap, however, to go from that position to one of advocacy for gay marriage. It is a bridge too far to demonize the Church for actually putting its money (literally and figuratively) where it’s doctrine is, in the form of the Prop 8 campaign.
I don’t live in California, so I don’t have a direct stake in this; however, I strongly believe the Church did the right thing (at the macro level, at least) in its advocacy in favor of the Proposition.
The direction this issue has taken has given life to the warnings raised by Elders Oaks and other members of the Church leadership about efforts to silence religious individuals and organizations in public matters. Or, at least, those matters which offend the political left.
What we have here, in the reaction to several issues, be it Church involvement in Proposition 8, or women in the priesthood, for example, are members of the Church who view their religion through the prism of their politics. As Exhibit A, I offer the attitude of self-identified “liberal Mormons” to the following: Church involvement in opposition to gay marriage = bad; Church involvement in the promotion of matters related to illegal immigration = good.
The Church does not owe an “apology to the gay community”; in fact, the reverse is true. In exchange for exercising its constitutional and institutional rights of free expression on a matter of its doctrine and its intersection with a public vote, the Church and its members have been subject to hate crimes, public ridicule of the most indefensible type, hate-based boycotts, and retaliatory firings — all the while advocating a position with which 52% of the voting public agreed. Maybe the apology seekers, and other professional victims, should seek an apology from the people of California.
At the end of the day, LDS SSM advocates should be open and honest about the “reforms” they are attempting to force upon the Church. At least, then, we can see this movement for what it truly is.



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MrNirom

posted September 29, 2010 at 1:04 pm


I was thinking about the whole Prop 8 last night. I really still feel that the ultimate relationship that happens between a man and a woman.. we call it marriage. And in the Church.. we can take it one step higher and enter what we call Celestial Marriage.
The word “marriage” is what happens when a man and a woman want to share their love together forever. Not a man and a man.. or a woman and woman.. but a man and a woman. That is the definition of Marriage… and they enter into “MARRIAGE”.
Now.. if the gays are allowed to add to and change this definition.. then MARRIAGE is no longer between a man and a woman. That is gone. It would now become a word that includes perversions to Gods law. Marriage.. the word as it is defined.. would not be what it use to mean. When someone asks me if I am married.. I would say NO.. not under any definition that it is something more than the ultimate relationship between a man and a woman.
They have taken the word Marriage and thrown it out the window for all time and eternity. I would rather have them take the name Marriage.. and have it mean the ultimate relationship between anything other than a man and a woman than have to share their perversion and try to say what I have is equal to what they have. It is not! The union between man and woman is blessed by God… and none other is. The union between homosexuals is only blessed by man.. and man is NOT God! Man can call it good. God would not! Man can say it is wonderful. God would not! If it was so wonderful in the eyes of God.. it would have been happening for the last 6000 years and all of mankind would be happy today. But… it didn’t happen!! It has been prophesied that in the last days men would say that evil is good and good is evil. Here we are.. prophecy fulfilled!
Yes.. the GA’s have to walk on egg shells not to upset the liberal members of the Church who want to change God’s laws. It reminds me of the people who were trying to shoot arrows at and kill the prophet Samuel the Lamanite for telling the people they need to repent. Yes.. kill the prophets when you don’t like what they say. Oh yes.. let us bend to ways of man and please them.. after all.. they are much more important than God and his laws.
Did the prophets received a new revelation from God that now states homosexual behavior is ok? Or are we now saying that the prophets of old were wrong? And the scripture is wrong? And that God was wrong? That his laws have just grown out of date?
Who are these Mormons that believe the Church should change its position on homosexual behavior and make it all hunky dory? Wolves in sheep’s clothing.. that’s who they are!



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Chris

posted September 29, 2010 at 1:25 pm


“the GA’s have to walk on egg shells not to upset the liberal members of the Church who want to change God’s laws”
If you think the GAs are tailoring their speech based on any political considerations then you don’t seem to think much of the GAs and their relationship with Christ. Rather I think they are trying to show Christlike love by showing compassion and charity for individuals, but maintaining a firm approach to God’s laws as well as the moral foundations of our society.



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MrNirom

posted September 29, 2010 at 6:53 pm


@Chris I think the GA’s do try to “keep the peace”. It is not something that they should have to do.. but they do it anyway. And who are they doing it for? Those who are whining and complaining. “I can’t believe my church did this.. or I can’t believe my church did that.
Either get on the ship.. or get off… I am so tired of the fence sitters.



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SlumPondSlim

posted September 30, 2010 at 12:15 am


Ahemmm… I do believe the wheels of God do turn very slowly…look at the pants on women at RICKS college…the Black Priesthood….the slow, but inevitable return of (Gasp) !!! Beards on our manly Manhood…Yes the Church will accept the Gay community one of these days…when the genetics of it are all worked out…. But Pleeeze don’t hold your breath….



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Chris

posted September 30, 2010 at 9:45 am


Slum… I’m genetically predisposed to all sorts of behavior, behavior which the gospel of Jesus Christ precisely strengthens me to overcome and cleanses me of the negative spiritual effects when I repent of it. The only perniciousness I see in homosexuality is not that is an undesirable behavior (I’m full of many of those traits genetically), but it is the movement over the last 15 years to label that behavior as not only normal but positive.
Putting on my visionary hat, it’s only a matter of time before all genetic tendencies are labeled “normal”. And then beyond that, some people will start to realize it’s not “normalcy” that matters but what you want to become. Some of us are there now… others just want to duke it out calling each other sinners or childly saying mind your own business.



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DMc

posted September 30, 2010 at 12:17 pm


Mordred08
I fear for you that your opinion of the Millennial Reign will be the same.
Also, a reminder to all. There is no marriage in Heaven (Luke 20: 34-36 even though this tells of the lower kingdoms). The correct term, so as not to confuse the non-LDS, is being “sealed” as in Revelations chapter 7 and “sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise” as in D&C section 132. “Celestial Marriage” is a colloquialism.
Also, Elder Jensen showed great restriant (not that my opinion of him is necessary) in not mentioning Acts 9: 5 or even D&C 121: 38. He is truly kind and brimming with empathy. Two traits I need to work on.



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IHM

posted September 30, 2010 at 12:54 pm


It’s not about what an individual said or what an individual wrote about it. It’s about the position the LDS has put itself into. They engaged in political manipulations to impose their belief system on the general public in California. Sincere or less so, individual beliefs are no basis for denying civil rights. What’s more, in the process they disseminated dishonest information increasing the fear and hatred surrounding this difficult question and further compromising the day to day lives of an already vulnerable population.
The behavior and tactics of the LDS were unchristian, unethical and unamerican. This is the environment Jensen walked into. If he had some human compassion based on making first hand contact with some of the people his church’s policy and implementation — perhaps some of the policy he helped shape as one of the 100 most powerful authorities in his church — he should have. If he asks others in that LDS power structure to deal with the immediate impact of the policy they make then something will have been accomplished.



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Tom

posted September 30, 2010 at 6:07 pm


Wow, IHM, I don’t even know where to begin. Your post is chock full of inaccuracies and twisted arguments.
First, “the LDS” has not put itself into any position. The Church was one part of a coalition of groups (both religious and non-religious) that were participating in a public debate brought on by citizens in California in reaction to a judicial usurpation of the SSM issue, and its imposition of its own set of values against the will of the people. The gay lobby has been pushing this issue for the past 15 years; every time….every SINGLE time….the gay marriage question has been put before voters, it has failed. SSM advocates therefore took the path of least resistance — the judiciary. If you want to talk about something Unamerican, I suggest you start there.
“. . . They engaged in political manipulations to impose their belief system on the general public in California.”
Just because you disagree with an argument, it’s wrong (and counterproductive to reasoned debate — if that’s what you even REALLY want) to simply dismiss it as a “political manipulation”. The Church, collectively and individually, has a right (protected by the First Amendment, maybe you’ve heard of it) to express its views. Its views are that SSM is a threat to societal cohesion, and represent a denial of the right of children to be raised in two-gender homes, damong other things.
As far as “imposing beliefs”, pardon me, but isn’t that what voters, and officeholders, actually do when they VOTE (whether on election day or in a legislative body)? All of society is some group of people imposing their beliefs on other groups of people. If you want to raise my taxes, I certainly consider that you imposing your beliefs on me by sticking your hand into my pocket. And you’re missing the broader point — the people of California VOTED FOR Prop 8. Are you claiming that they did so against their will, or under some kind of brainwashing by the Church? Get a grip, man. Or at least be a little more honest and direct in your disparagement of the voters.
“Compromising the day to day lives of a vulnerable population”?? Really? You mean compromising their lives by committing acts of vandalism, hate-based boycotts, and retaliatory firings? Or is that a kind of compromise reserved from those evil Mormons?
As much as you hate it, the First Amendment applies to Mormons, and the Mormon Church, too. If you think that’s Unamerican, then I can only wonder what kind of America you believe in.



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Mordred08

posted September 30, 2010 at 7:39 pm


DMc: “I fear for you that your opinion of the Millennial Reign will be the same.”
Don’t get me started on that Book of Revelation crap. That stuff reads like a bad alien invasion movie. Let’s see if you guys are still singing glory hallelujahs when Jesus blows up the White House.



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DMc

posted October 2, 2010 at 1:22 am


Mordred08
If you are up to a challenge, I suggest you test God’s intentions. If you follow the instruction below, paraphrased from Alma 32, the Book of Revelations will no longer read “like a bad alien invasion movie” you will begin to understand it. It won’t happen overnight. This test is hard on a person but worth every moment you dedicate to it, if you actually seek knowledge. However, if you do not leave the barren ground you are on, it will not work.
27 But see, if you will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yes, even if you can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until you believe in a manner that you can give place for a portion of my words.
28 Now, we will compare the word unto a seed. Now, if you give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if you do not cast it out by your unbelief, that you will resist the Spirit of the Lord, you will see, it will begin to swell within your chest; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourself—It must be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it begins to enlarge my soul; yes, it begins to enlighten my understanding, yes, it begins to be delicious to me.
29 Now look, would not this increase your faith? I say to you, Yes; nevertheless it has not grown up to a perfect knowledge.
30 But look, as the seed swells, and sprouts, and begins to grow, then you must then say that the seed is good; for see, it swells, and sprouts, and begins to grow. And now, behold, will not this strengthen your faith? Yes, it will strengthen your faith: for you will say I know that this is a good seed; for you will understand it sprouts and begins to grow.
31 And now, you may wonder, are you sure that this is a good seed? I say to you, Yes; for every seed brings forth unto its own likeness.
32 Therefore, if a seed grows it is good, but if it grows not, you will see, it is not good, therefore it is cast away.
33 And now, you will find, because you have tried the experiment, and planted the seed, and it swells and sprouts, and begins to grow, you must need to know that the seed is good.
34 And now, think about it, is your knowledge perfect? Yes, your knowledge is perfect in that thing, and your faith is dormant; and this because you know, for you know that the word has swelled your soul, and you also know that it has sprouted up, that your understanding does begin to be enlightened, and your mind does begin to expand.
35 O then, is not this real? I say to you, Yes, because it is light; and whatsoever is light, is good, because it is discernible, therefore you must know that it is good; and now look, after you have tasted this light is your knowledge perfect?
36 I say to you, No; neither must you lay aside your faith, for you have only exercised your faith to plant the seed that you might try the experiment to know if the seed was good.
37 And you will see, as the tree begins to grow, you will say: Let me nourish it with great care, that it may get root, that it may grow up, and bring forth fruit to us. And so, if you nourish it with much care it will get root, and grow up, and bring forth fruit.
38 But if you neglect the tree, and take no thought for its nourishment, you will find it will not get any root; and when the heat of the sun comes and scorches it, because it has no root it withers away, and you pluck it up and cast it out.
39 Now, this is not because the seed was not good, neither is it because the fruit from it would not be desirable; but it is because your ground is barren, and you will not nourish the tree, therefore you cannot have the fruit thereof.
40 And so, if you will not nourish the word, looking forward with an eye of faith to the fruit thereof, you can never pluck of the fruit of the tree of life.
41 But if you will nourish the word, yes, nourish the tree as it begins to grow, by your faith with great diligence, and with patience, looking forward to the fruit from it, it shall take root; and behold it shall be a tree springing up to everlasting life.
42 And because of your diligence and your faith and your patience with the word in nourishing it, that it may take root in you, then you will find, by and by you shall pluck the fruit from it, which is most precious, which is sweet above all that is sweet, and which is white above all that is white, yes, and pure above all that is pure; and you shall feast upon this fruit even until you are filled, that you hunger not, neither shall you thirst.
43 Then, my brother, you shall reap the rewards of your faith, and your diligence, and patience, and long-suffering, waiting for the tree to bring forth fruit unto you.
Or, you can just study more, pray more, and do more for other (the secret to seek, ask, knock). Start by word searching “works” in a KJV Bible search engine and compare and see how many different connotations the word has. That is how I started ten years ago.



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Mordred08

posted October 2, 2010 at 7:30 pm


Alma is one of those Book of Mormon books, right? I actually tried reading your book once. I only got to about the point where it claimed a lost 13th tribe of Israel lived in North America 1000+ years before Columbus. So basically, you take all the hard-to-believe stuff that’s in the real Bible (Earth created in 7 days, global flood, resurrections, etc.), and then add extra hard-to-believe stuff on top of that. But it’s my fault I don’t buy into it?



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DMc

posted October 5, 2010 at 1:50 am


If you fear the experiment, don’t blame me for the darkness.



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kiro

posted October 6, 2010 at 3:21 pm


Tom, I too did a bit of a double-take when I saw that Mormon participation in the California political process described with such language.
“Debacle”? REALLY?
Apparently Mormons aren’t entitled to the same right to participation that “real” or “good” or “legitimate” citizens are?
Not that we’re dealing with dehumanization or anything….



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Sean Burke

posted October 10, 2010 at 9:25 pm


Dear Church of LDS,
Apology not accepted.



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Kaye

posted October 15, 2010 at 10:09 pm


Are qualified apologies better than nothing? I dunno, but it begs the question what needs to take place for true healing and forgiveness to occur?
I suggest that full honesty and accountability requirements have to be met first. Wrongdoings can be more easily forgiven and healing can take place if there is 100% truth. Otherwise, one party can forgive, but is left with the option of letting go and establishing boundaries and changing the things one can. Accepting the present circumstances as they are without engaging in fantasies of they could or ought to be.
Continually debating what the definition of “IS” is, as President Clinton tried to do, gets us nowhere fast.



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